By Jean-François Quénet in Fayence
Since succeeding Jean-Marie Leblanc as director of the Tour de France in 2006, Christian Prudhomme has insisted on the necessity to draw up unexpected courses for most of the ASO-organised races. At Paris-Nice, he asked his collaborators to find something new. Former Z and Gan professional rider François Lemarchand was the man on a mission for this year's "race to the sun". He came up with the Montagne de Lure and today's stage to Fayence, which provided a thrilling undulating route which resulted in exciting racing from start to finish.
"The organiser proposes and the riders dispose," Prudhomme always says. "This week, we've spoken the same language. The teams have really taken the opportunities provided by Lemarchand's route. We all like to see them riding offensively."
The boss was amazed by Contador's hunger flat. "I read a few comments in the press saying that he didn't have a very strong team, it seems to have been the case," Prudhomme underlined. "After the Montagne de Lure, we all thought Contador would stay in yellow till the end. Considering his domination uphill, it looked like the race was over for GC. What happened to him was a considerable surprise. It shows that nothing is written in advance and that's interesting for our sport."
Prudhomme has designed the coming Tour de France with the aim that no winner will be decided before the finish atop Mont Ventoux on the penultimate day.